ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — With just 29 players on the field Saturday, the Chiefs’ first day of minicamp provided rookies with a refresher course in NFL practice life while allowing veteran quarterbacks and returning players injuries a chance to shed the rust and start the process of preparing for a new season ahead.
Head coach Andy Reid relished the opportunity to bring his team – albeit in reduced numbers – back to the field.
“I think they did a good job,” Reid said. “We have short lines so we really slowed down for them so we could get some quality reps with the heat and everything. But they succeeded and did a good job.
The thermometer read 82 degrees when the opening horn sounded at 9.14 a.m. – a minute ahead of schedule and peaked at 87 degrees when the final period ended at 10.51 a.m. Reid said his team had paused with a breeze that made him feel cooler than normal.
“It’s training camp,” Reid explained. “You fight against your body, your mind, all those things and then the scheme thrown at you. You have to be physically and mentally able to endure, and that’s not the easiest thing to do. You have to practice to be able to do that, and some guys do a little better than others and that’s why our coaches take care of them. If someone is struggling, we take them out, let them rest or pick them up and do our thing.
Notes and Observations
Minicamp practices are closed to the public, which limits some of the details that are recorded for attending journalists. That doesn’t matter too much this weekend, as the limited number of players in camp and the work being done on the pitch make depth charts and formations almost irrelevant. There are also no contact or team periods.
Saturday’s session began with conditioning followed by individual drills, group stance work, a facility refresher course, two 7-on-7 periods, and stance work. special teams.
Patrick Mahomes started the first session 7-for-7 with an incompletion at Cornell Powell, but was nearly perfect after that, throwing eight straight throws before a fall from tight end Jody Fortson ended the streak. But the duo bounced back during a red zone spell, combining for touchdowns on back-to-back plays, with Fortson losing his helmet but still managing to catch. Fortson had another catch two plays later from shy Chad Henne from the goal line — probably not a touchdown in real action, but it was a training camp score after reaching the end zone.
The defensive highlight of the day came as cornerback Trent McDuffie fended off a pass from Mahomes in the end zone to receiver Aaron Parker. Rookie defensive back Nazeeh Johnson also looked sharp in coverage, including defending a red zone pass from Dustin Crum to tight end Mark Vital.
Reid didn’t note any injuries after practice, although linebacker Leo Chenal left practice early after the heat hit him. Chenal’s departure came during the team’s last 7-on-7 session.
Reid added offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho (leg) to the list of players who should start camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He worked in the practice tent on the sideline alongside cornerback Rashad Fenton (shoulder) and offensive lineman Lucas Niang (knee). Wide receiver Justin Ross (foot) will also start camp on the PUP roster but has not been seen on the field.
Defensive lineman Kehinde Oginni Hassan watched the practice from the sideline. Reid said the club’s medical staff were treating an irregular result with his blood test.
Wide receiver Skyy Moore was restricted during offseason practices with a hamstring issue, but showed no restrictions Saturday in front of Reid.
“He looked slick here today, strong,” Reid said. “His leg seemed to be holding up well. You know he has these big legs, different from a lot of receivers. It has like running back legs.
Sunday marks the second day of the three-day minicamp for rookies, quarterbacks and injured players with practice at 9:15 a.m. in St. Joseph. The minicamp is closed to the public.
Veteran players must report Monday afternoon. Tuesday is an acclimatization for the players with the first practice open to the public at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday July 27.